Armitstead to ‘empty tank’ in world title bid

Yorkshire's Lizzie Armitstead celebrates gold in the road race at Glasgow Green, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Yorkshire's Lizzie Armitstead celebrates gold in the road race at Glasgow Green, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
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Lizzie Armitstead is intent on having no regrets when she puts her world title ambitions on the line in Richmond, Virginia, tomorrow night.

The Commonwealth and British champion, who is also an Olympic silver medallist and two-time World Cup series winner, saw her bid for the illustrious title of world road race champion undone last year by a tactical mistake.

She enters the 2015 event in the United States as one of the favourties once again and vowing this time to leave nothing to chance.

“I would’ve attacked the climb earlier,” she said of last year’s tactical hesitation in Spain that left her seventh and allowed France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prévot to slip her arms into the rainbow jersey.

“At least then I could’ve gone home without any regrets.

“I don’t want to finish the race with regrets. If I finish with an empty tank, then I’m happy.”

Otley’s Armitstead, who felt “very strong” in winning team time-trial silver with her Boels-Dolmans squad last Sunday, believes her hopes of gold could come down to tactics once more on the 129.6km circuit.

And she has no intention of revealing her plans, but expects other teams to try to lose her.

“I’m very confident of my physical shape right now. Everything I’ve been able to control has gone smoothly,” she added. “It just comes down to tactics on race day now. It’s down to other teams, like the Italians, like the Dutch, the Australians, the Americans. It’s their race to lose. I’d hope they’d want to get rid of riders like me and (Belgium’s) Jolien d’Hoore into the finish, so hopefully it will be an aggressive race.

“I’m hoping to be that unknown factor – I don’t want to give too much away. I don’t want to go in with an exact plan. I have to be flexible in the race and go with how I feel and instinct.”

The British team for the men’s race on Sunday is weakened by the absence of 2011 world champion Mark Cavendish, but that does open the door for Rotherham’s Ben Swift and Burley-in-Wharfedale’s Scott Thwaites to make a name for themselves.

Holmfirth’s Gabriel Cullaigh contests the men’s under-23s race tonight while Sheffield’s Joey Walker races the junior event on Saturday.

Sir Gary Verity outside Leeds Town Hall. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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